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Announcement: HCS Approach Methodology & Toolkit Revision

First Consultation Period 1st to 28th of March:
Please Give your Feedback

In March 2015, version 1.0 of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Toolkit was launched, enabling the widespread adoption of the HCS Approach. The Toolkit provides guidance for producers on how to identify High Carbon Stock forests and integrate them with other land use planning approaches such as High Conservation Value areas, the protection of peatlands, and respect for the rights of indigenous and traditional communities to their lands.

The HCS Approach Steering Group is now announcing the commencement of the first revision of the HCS Approach Methodology and Toolkit since its public release in 2015. The revision process will take place in the coming months, with the aim to launch version 2.0 before the end of the year.

As part of the first phase of the revision process, key stakeholders, such as commodity companies and practitioners implementing the HCS Approach, are being consulted on their experience with the Toolkit and Methodology to date. Members of the scientific community will be engaged in the process via the HCS Approach Scientific Advisory Committee. All other stakeholders such as government representatives, NGOs, community organisations, and consumer companies are also welcome to provide feedback. Recommendations from further field trials and new scientific information will also be incorporated in the revision.

On the 30th of March 2016, the HCS Approach Steering Group will be holding an HCS Approach Methodology and Toolkit Revision Consultation Workshop in Singapore. The workshop will be an open session for critical feedback and will also include presentations on proposals for revision based on issues arising from the targeted questionnaires and feedback to date. Any interested parties and relevant stakeholders are welcome to participate in the workshop.

Should you be interested in joining the consultation workshop to provide feedback on your experience or views on the methodology, please contact:

We also invite you to provide your feedback on the methodology by filling in our questionnaire below before the 28th of March, 2016.

General Survey – HCS Approach Toolkit & Methodology Review

The HCS Approach Toolkit Version 1.0 is available here.

Photos: courtesy of TFT and Golden Agri-Resources

Announcing the release of the HCS Approach Quality Review Process and Registered Practitioners

In November 2015, the HCS Approach Steering Group launched a Quality Review Process, which will be followed for all HCS assessments completed by members of the Steering Group, as well as any non-member who requests review. The review process does not require third-party certification, however, companies must engage trained practitioners to conduct the HCS assessment and submit the assessment to a small Peer Review panel. The Peer Review panel’s feedback will then be published alongside a summary of the assessment and any additional company comments, so that stakeholders can enter into a dialogue with companies about the results.

The procedure will be valid through November 30, 2016. The HCS Approach Quality Assurance Working Group is considering changes to the process after this first year.

A list of trained registered practitioners is also now available following two HCS Approach practitioner trainings that were held earlier this year. The first training was held in Bahasa Indonesia in Bogor, Indonesia in August, 2015. The second training was held in English in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September, 2015. More trainings will be scheduled for the upcoming months across different regions. Practitioners interested in attending HCS Approach trainings should contact for further information.

Registration is tied to the organisation and the registered individual practitioner. Under the HCS Approach Quality Review Process, only Registered Organisations can lead HCS assessments, and the HCS team must include at least two Registered Practitioners. The HCS Approach Steering Group encourages companies committed to implementing the HCS Approach to contact these Registered Organisations to lead HCS assessments.

The HCS Approach Quality Review Process document is now available, and outlines the details and steps of the Quality Review Process.

For additional information on the process, HCS Approach Trainings, and for the list of Registered Organisations and Practitioners, please visit the HCS Approach Quality Review Process page on the HCS Approach website.

Call for interest: HCS Approach Practitioner Training 2016

In August and September of 2015, the HCS Approach Steering Group organised two technical training sessions for HCS Approach practitioners in Malaysia and in Indonesia. These trainings are a critical part of the HCS Approach Quality Review process, and assessors are required to attend at least one training in order to be registered as an approved HCS Approach practitioner. We are now looking to schedule further sessions for 2016 to ensure that assessors have access to appropriate guidance and an in-depth understanding of how to implement the HCS Approach Toolkit.

We wish to ensure that training sessions are organised according to demand and interest, please send us a non-binding expression of interest to by 15 December, 2015 if you or representatives from your organisation would consider attending trainings organised by the HCS Approach Steering Group.

Meeting held on convergence of the HCS Approach and HCS Science Study

On 6 October, 2015, the leaders of the HCS Approach and the HCS Science Study, and representatives of Unilever, Wilmar, Musim Mas, GAR, Sime Darby, Cargill, Greenpeace, TFT, Union of Concerned Scientists, Forest Peoples Programme, and WWF met in Singapore. The goal was to work together towards agreement on a single clear set of rules for implementation of companies’ commitments to ‘No Deforestation’.

It was established during the meeting that the HCS Approach and the emerging conclusions of the HCS Science Study are convergent in many respects, although with some noted significant differences that need to be further explored.

The group has agreed to run parallel and joint implementation trials of different components of the HCS Approach and the HCS Study proposals in diverse landscapes to see how they compare in conservation and development outcomes and in practicalities of implementation, and to explore the challenges, risks and benefits of applying the carbon neutral approach. These trials are intended to inform further discussions about the possibilities for further convergence or complementarity.

The conversation last week was an important start to the work that will take place in the coming months. The organisations around the table share a commitment to finding a path to a single set of rules for companies that have committed to no deforestation. The group will meet again before the RSPO Roundtable meeting in November to continue these discussions.

A Statement Release is available containing further details on the outcomes and discussions of the meeting.

Sawit Watch, Greenpeace and the HCS Approach Steering Group hold national workshop on community-based forest conservation

A national workshop with the theme “Konservasi Hutan Berbasis Masyarakat di Areal Konsesi: Identifikasi Solusi Permasalahan Sosial dan Pembelajaran” (or “Community-Based Forest Conservation in Concession Areas: Identifying Solutions to Social Issues and the Lessons Learned”) took place on the 2nd of July, 2015 in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The workshop was held as a collaboration by Sawit Watch and Greenpeace, with the support of the HCS Approach Steering Group.

The idea for the workshop emerged from various discussions held between Sawit Watch and Greenpeace after the RSPO RT12 in Malaysia.

The workshop’s general objective was to understand how community’s patterns or ways of protecting their forest could be implemented by other stakeholders (companies) in their efforts to conserve or protect certain areas in company concessions.

Participants included representatives from social and environmental non-governmental organisations, plantation labour unions, government, private sector, academics, and consultants.

A Report on the national workshop is available.